The chances are you have come across a blog in your lifetime. Or maybe you’re already a blogger, or you’ve dabbled in the past but never really got anywhere. Lots of people look at me blankly when I tell them that I make money through my blog, but once I explain how to make money blogging it all starts to make sense.
When I first started my blog, I had a kind of notion that it was possible to make money but absolutely no idea how. We’ve all seen the big names floating around, most of whom make a steady income. Some of the really big names makes hundreds of thousands a year from the comfort of their own homes. Well… not exactly. I’ll explain.
Starting a Blog
Lots of bloggers start out with the intention of simply having a bit of a creative outlet and their blogs grow from there. Others start with a clear growth plan in place, having already done all the necessary research. To be entirely honest the latter option, if you’re wondering how to make money blogging is by far the better, but the reality is that the former is what usually happens.
Starting a blog can literally take 10 minutes; you think of a name, choose a platform (like WordPress or Blogger), set up your account and start writing. Simples. Growing a blog, on the other hand, takes some serious work.
This is how lots of blogs start out, but the first result isn’t usually the result you see when they’re eventually making a living from blogging.
How to Make Money Blogging
To make regular money blogging you’ll need to buy your domain, which is usually the name of your blog in web address form (like mummymamamum.com). It’s not super expensive to buy a domain, but you will have to check if your name has already been taken. I bought my domain from 1&1 on their WordPress package, paying £8.39 per month.
You’ll need to own your domain name in order to display affiliate ads. These are the advert banners or boxes you see on websites. You can also display affiliate links within the text of blog posts, like this;
That link is an affiliate link. It links the reader to somewhere they can buy the product (like Amazon in this case). If they make a purchase after clicking your link, you simply earn a percentage of what they spend. It doesn’t cost them any more than they would normally pay, and is a really easy to way to make money blogging without much effort.
Once you’ve done that, you’ll need to make sure that your website looks the absolute best it can. This doesn’t necessarily have to cost you any more money, as there are lots of free website themes you can use. For basic HTML coding (the stuff that builds a website) you can pretty much find code written for you or tutorials on how to do it with a simple Google or Youtube search.
When you want to start making money from your blog, it really needs to look its best. Your blog becomes a kind of CV for you in the blogging world, and it’s usually the first place a company or brand will go to decide if they want to work with you.
How can I get brands to work with me?
Lots of bloggers make the mistake of thinking that brands will come to them with work. While this is true, it’s highly likely that until your blog is getting some serious traffic, offers of paid work will be few and far between.
You might be wondering what you can even do for a brand with your blog that would require them to pay you. It’s essentially no different to traditional advertising; a brand pays you to advertise their service or product, and they benefit by getting the attention of your audience (the people who read your blog).
The big difference is that advertising a brand through a blog doesn’t usually feel like advertising. No one wants adverts shoved down their throat (when was the last time you didn’t fast forward the ads?!), so companies are starting to see the huge potential that a genuine referral or recommendation from a blogger can have for their reputation. I for one would much rather buy something that has been genuinely recommended to me than something I’ve just seen an ad for.
Working with bloggers for lots of companies and brands is still quite new territory, though. Some love it and use it to its full potential, and others are still sceptical. In order to secure work with brands, you’ll probably need to reach out to them with an offer of work and with an idea to pitch to them.
Some bloggers choose to work with anyone who will pay them, which can end up making their blog look a bit spammy (same goes with too many affiliate ad banners or boxes) – kind of like the ad break you want to fast forward. The most successful bloggers, however, are pretty choosy about who they work with. These are the bloggers who know that people will simply stop reading their blogs if they become to ad-break-like. If people stop reading, brands will simply go elsewhere where they can find bigger audiences to reach.
This is all starting to sound a bit complicated!
In all honesty, it isn’t easy to be successful. Not because of any kind of technical or business knowledge, but because of the sheer effort it takes. To start a blog you don’t need any technical experience or knowledge whatsoever. You can even run a successful blog without much background web design knowledge; like I said, Google is your friend!
But in order to make money blogging, you will need to be willing to put in some serious hours, no different from setting up any other business by yourself. There are lots of tools and tricks to making blogging tasks quicker and easier, but it’s very much a full time job to be a successful blogger. You’ll need to be professional, approachable, trustworthy, willing to graft, and deliver great content.
A blogger needs to be everything all in one; content creator, photographer, editor, marketing manager, social media curator, bookkeeper, PR, researcher, graphics creator, helpdesk, IT technician, and anything else you can think of! This is the reason that bloggers are able to charge for the work they do for brands. If you think how much a company would have to pay all those individual staff members to do the same job a blogger does, a few hundred quid doesn’t quite seem that much.
You’ll need to be willing to spend a lot of time on social media, and not just one of them! Many bloggers are active on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and more every single day,as that’s where they engage with their existing readers and find new ones. You’ll also need time to write great content that people want to come back and read. No-one is going to pay you to write if they can see that your posts are poor and your audience is non-existent.
I Don’t Think I Can Do This…
My simple response to you would be; Yes! You probably can!
Starting a blog, if nothing else, is an amazing creative outlet. If you’re not in a rush to make money you can learn the ropes as you go, like most bloggers do! The longer you do it, the more you will pick up. And if I’m truthful, when you start blogging it becomes a bit of an obsession meaning you’re likely to want to spend your time beavering away at it anyway.
Don’t expect to replace your income overnight. But, if you’re willing to put in a few hours to start with and build it up, it is very much possible to earn a good salary as a blogger.
Ok, Where Do I Start?
A great place to start is here, where you can find all the basics that I use to run my blog efficiently. Also, I’ll say it again, Google is your friend!